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Exclusive: Gallo Dominates Domestic Wine “Hot Brands,” As Italy Drives Imports

March 14, 2017

With U.S. wine consumption estimated to have hit a record high of 326.7 million cases in 2016, Impact’s latest list of wine “Hot Brands” reflects a healthy mix of returning stalwarts and rising stars. On the domestic wine side, the 2016 Hot Brands lineup featured a total of 19 winners.

E.&J. Gallo led the way with seven domestic honorees. Gallo’s Barefoot Cellars ($7-$10 a 750-ml.) held its spot at the top of the domestic roster, selling 18.3 million cases last year to earn its 14th consecutive Hot Brand award. Barefoot was joined by the lightly carbonated Barefoot Refresh offshoot, as well as Gallo portfoliomates Liberty Creek, Apothic, Dark Horse and William Hill.

Gallo also counted Vin Vault, a premium boxed wine, among its domestic winners. Premium boxed wine pioneers Black Box (Constellation) and Bota Box (Delicato Family Vineyards) likewise earned Hot Brand honors, with each selling more than 5 million cases last year. Other domestic award-winners include Deutsch Family’s Josh Cellars and Constellation’s Meiomi, which both surpassed the million-case threshold in 2016. While premium California wines accounted for the vast majority of domestic honorees, Washington’s Ste. Michelle Wine Estates also made a strong showing with its 14 Hands and Columbia Crest brands.

Among imports, 20 brands earned honors, with Italy comprising more than half the list. Italian standouts Stella Rosa (Riboli Family Wine Estates) and Ruffino (Constellation) are the two largest imported wine Hot Brands, depleting 1.33 million cases and 1.25 million cases respectively last year. Meanwhile, growing demand for Prosecco has helped propel Hot Brands such as Gallo’s La Marca, Mionetto USA’s Mionetto and Zonin USA’s Zonin Prosecco.

New Zealand also continues to see solid growth, particularly at the super-premium end. Kim Crawford (Constellation) became the first Kiwi brand to top 1 million cases in the U.S. last year, and was joined on the Hot Brand roster by stablemate Nobilo, as well as fellow New Zealand players Oyster Bay (Oyster Bay Wines USA), Starborough (E.&J. Gallo) and Matua (Treasury Wine Estates).

The full report on Hot Brands for both spirits and wine appears in the March 1&15 issue of Impact. Beer’s Hot Brands will be announced in the July 1 edition.

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